It's a time tested tradition in Bluefield area- free lemonade served after the mercury hits 90 degrees at the Mercer County Airport.
Since 1939, lemonade has been served 220 times because of 90 degree readings, according to Mercer County. That's a rate of about three lemonade days a summer. However, lately the area has experienced a lemonade drought. The 90 degree mark hasn't been eclipsed since 2013.
This can be explained with the dominant weather patterns over the past summers. Typically, a 90 degree day in Bluefield features a ridge of high pressure building over the region, keeping the area hot and free of cooling clouds and storms. However, the opposite configuration has occurred the past couple of years, with a persistent trough keeping things cloudier and rainier than usual over the area, ensuring the high temperature stays in the 80s.
Our current forecast shows no sign of 90s anytime soon, but this is normal. Even though it has reached 90 degrees as early as May 31, it's not until July that chances begin to substantially rise for a 90 degree day.
What are the prospects of an 90 degree day for the rest of the summer? Fairly good, as a National Weather Service forecast predicts warmer than average temperatures over the area for the summer. However, seasonal forecasts aren't perfect, and this summer could just as easily be our 5th in a row with no lemonade days.